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Continued: Minnesota sex crimes task force asks for program overhaul

  • Article by: CHRIS SERRES , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 2, 2013 - 10:13 PM

“We need more options,” Liebling said. “Right now, it’s a de facto life sentence at a high-security facility or it’s nothing.”

The report also contains strong language addressing the commitment of juveniles.

“No person should be civilly committed based solely on behavior that occurred while that person was a juvenile,” it says. Some 52 of the 698 people now confined in the MSOP have not been convicted of an adult crime, according to state records.

The size and cost of the MSOP have exploded over the past decade. In 2003, after the kidnapping and murder of college student Dru Sjodin, the state Department of Corrections began recommending more sex offenders for civil commitment. The program’s population jumped from 199 in June 2003 to 698 today, and Minnesota now confines more sex offenders per capita than any other state.

“Anything you recommend that makes it harder to put people into the system and easier for them to get out … ” Magnuson warned, “will be resisted at some level.”

 

Chris Serres • 612-673-4308

Twitter: @chrisserres

  • key Recommendations

    • Panel of retired judges should decide on civil commitment of sex offenders.

    • State unit should screen individual offenders and the risk they pose based on “the most current and accurate science.”

    • Burden of proof should be on the state to demonstrate the need for confinement.

    • No confinement for juvenile acts.

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